Last week, the boy and I went to the Wimbledon Stables Open Day expecting to get into the windmill museum for free. A commenter set me straight and informed me that the 18th of September would be the Windmill open day. And chided me for my cheapness. So, we headed on down to the Windmill for our free entry after many years of standing outside and wondering whether it was worth the price of entry.
(Photo credit Adrian Short)
And now that we've been in...
Anyway, there was a lot more to the windmill museum than I imagined. I didn't get to poke around all the exhibits as I spent most of my time chasing the boy around the upper level above the treacherous stairway to the workings of the mill. But there were working windmill models of all types and diaromas featuring threshing men and moth-eaten cats.
The boy had a wonderful time. He enjoyed the hands on opportunity to grind some wheat using two handy-sized millstones and he loved the pully. Pullies are fantastic for kids - demonstrating how a small machine can turn you into a weight lifting super hero.
And, of course, he loved climbing up into the workings of the windmill.
I think there was probably a lot more to see than I managed. But I will remember one thing - writ large was the fact No one ever built a windmill if they could have a water mill. Surely, these are words to live by.
And the Vol-in-Law spotted another bit of history. You know the bombs bursting in air from the Star Spangled Banner? Well, apparently back during the War of 1812 (the last time we were at war with the Brits) those particular munitions were a bit of an advance and those bombs were developed by a Wimbledon resident and were tested right there on Wimbledon Common in the shadow or future shadow of the windmill. (Not sure when the windmill was built - the model above shows it was in operation in 1825).
They had a pretty good turnout for the open day, but I'm quite sure it would have been better had the visiting Pope not been staying across the street with the attendant police presence and full parking lot of Pope well-wishers.
So all in all, I'd recommend stumping up the cash for a visit to the Windmill Museum. I've certainly paid a lot more to see a lot worse.